Remote / virtual healthcare has the potential to improve access to services for remote and rural communities. The ability to make effective use of remote consultations requires commitment for use between Boards and for staff to adopt this is day to day practice. Unfortunately nearly all properties currently without access to decent broadband or 4G are in rural Scotland. Adequate and affordable connectivity needs to be provided in order for remote healthcare to succeed. Further investment and innovation within NHS Scotland to realise the potential of virtual healthcare is required (hardware, software, staff training etc.). Community engagement and support to help patients to embrace remote healthcare is also essential. As digital solutions are adopted and normalised resilience becomes increasingly important to cope with power outages, cyber security etc. Focus on supporting patient groups who most need support but are least able to access and use digital options is also necessary to avoid digital exclusion.
Remote healthcare will rely on access to broadband/4G which isn't available, but also on residents having the technology and the knowledge how to use it. Too many people are at risk of falling through the gap here.
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